HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya
Loading...

The Big Green Tent (2010)

by Ludmila Ulitskaya

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
216753,956 (4.03)20

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 20 mentions

English (4)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  All (7)
Showing 4 of 4
A wonderfully written book about life in Russia. The story follows the loves and lives of a group of friends living in Moscow during the 1950s. The ebb and flow of their lives follow in sync of the upheavals of the Russian government. This is a panoramic look at the lives of these three best friends who find love and work all the while being fervent dissidents. A must read for anyone who loves literature. ( )
  Alexanderp33 | Nov 11, 2017 |
A sweeping saga, it tells the story of three school friends who meet in Moscow in the 1950s and go on to embody the heroism, folly, compromise, and hope of the Soviet dissident experience. These three boys—an orphaned poet; a gifted, fragile pianist; and a budding photographer with a talent for collecting secrets—struggle to reach adulthood in a society where their heroes have been censored and exiled. Rich with love stories, intrigue, and a cast of dissenters and spies, The Big Green Tent offers a panoramic survey of life after Stalin and a dramatic investigation into the prospects for integrity in a society defined by the KGB. Each of the central characters seeks to transcend an oppressive regime through art, a love of Russian literature, and activism. Each of them ends up face-to-face with a secret police that is highly skilled at fomenting paranoia, division, and self-betrayal. An artist is chased into the woods, where he remains in hiding for four years; a researcher is forced to deem a patient insane, damning him to torture in a psychiatric ward; a man and his wife each become collaborators, without the other knowing. Ludmila Ulitskaya’s big yet intimate novel belongs to the tradition of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Pasternak: a work of politics, love, and belief that is a revelation of life in dark
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Nov 5, 2017 |
The Big Green Tent by Ljudmila Ulitskaya

I recommend this sprawling, Russian novel. This is a book with a big scope, that gives a picture of life as a dissident in post-Stalin Russia. The structure is interesting... the book starts as a straight-forward narrative about three school friends with a shared love of literature, and then, switches into a non-linear narrative, a series of chapters, each focusing on different characters and events.

I ended up reading the book too fast (it was due back at the library) and felt like I missed parts of the stories. I wished I had a list of characters and relationships. (but that would have included too many spoilers). Also, I missed out because of my lack of knowledge about Soviet history and culture. But I did enjoy learning, and also enjoyed the Russian poetry quoted throughout the book. ( )
  banjo123 | Aug 14, 2016 |
It's a Russian novel: lengthy, epic in scope, dense, with a cast of thousands and plenty of philosophy and moral dilemmas. ( )
  BlueGiraffe | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 4 of 4
Russians have a word, “byt,” that roughly translates as “everyday life,” standing as a contrast to high-culture concepts such as the arts, science and philosophy. And because Ludmila Ulitskaya’s latest novel, “The Big Green Tent,” is grounded in “byt” rather than historic events or abstract philosophical questions, it’s far more intimate and personal than what most people think of when they see a thick Russian novel.

...The wide variety of characters and stories means that the book is never dull, but perhaps not as compelling as a novel with a plot spanning its full length. However, that doesn’t mean that the reader won’t get invested with the characters and their travails. Above all, the reader gets a feeling for the stifling Soviet system, and how people managed to live – or not – within it.

 
The strongest section of the book by far is its first hundred pages, which describe the school days of Ulitskaya’s three main characters. Lyrically written and touching, these chapters show the transformative influence of a good teacher and introduce one of the novel’s central themes: the process of maturation that takes place, according to its own calendar, in individual lives.

Later sections of the book are less cohesive. Amid a sea of peripheral characters and references to well-known historical figures (Gorbanevskaya, Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov) and period details (the onionskin paper used to type illicit manuscripts, the homemade high-calorie cookies baked for political prisoners that were smuggled into labor camps in care packages), the stories of Ilya, Sanya, and Mikha stand out less effectively.
 
The big green tent revolves around banned books, a subject familiar to Ludmila Ulitskaya, one of Russia’s most acclaimed writers and, at 72, an outspoken protester against the Putin regime. Back in 1970, she was a young biologist who got fired from the Institute of General Genetics at the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences for distributing a samizdat book. She then set out on a tentative, initially unambitious literary track—a natural move for a self-described bookish girl with an unsupervised passion for reading. “I consider the bookcase my most important mentor,” Ulitskaya wrote in Discarded Relics, an essay collection that came out in 2012, by which time she had been publishing fiction—stories, novellas, novels, and plays—for more than a decade.

The presiding female sensibility is part of a larger project. Ulitskaya has bemoaned the lack of convincing female characters in Russian literary classics. Even Tolstoy’s Natasha Rostova, in her view, is the author’s unrealistic fantasy. The same goes for the women who populate contemporary Russian pulp fare, and literary fiction has continued the male-centered tradition. Ulitskaya is perhaps the only serious novelist fighting for balance. (Ludmilla Petrushevskaya joins in with shorter fiction.) She’s determined to give the Soviet woman’s power of passive resistance the literary attention it deserves.
 
Ludmila Ulitskaya’s latest novel, “The Big Green Tent,” is as grand, solid and impressively all-encompassing as its title implies. Yet the fact that it covers the Soviet dissident movement with such force shouldn’t be surprising. After all, Ulitskaya has an intimate knowledge of the subject. One of 21st-century Russia’s most prominent writers, she was among the dissidents of the Soviet era and she opposes Vladimir Putin now.

...In a single sentence, Ulitskaya perfectly captures the joy, misery and danger of dissident life: “Tea and vodka poured out in rivers, kitchens basked in the fervent steam of political dispute, so that the dampness crept up the walls to the hidden microphones behind the tiles at the level of the ceiling.”
 
Even by Russian novel standards, Ludmila Ulitskaya’s “The Big Green Tent’’ is a loose, baggy monster. It is almost 600 pages long, with dozens of characters and almost as many narrative digressions, all centered on dissident culture in the post-Stalin years of the Soviet Union. It is structurally unwieldy, using flash forwards to reveal characters’ fates in a sentence or two — this photographer will end up collaborating with the KGB; this poet will meet an early death — only to circle back, hundreds of pages later, to detail the events leading up to these fates.

Ulitskaya is generous toward her characters, even those who collaborate with the KGB — and there are many who do. But while she describes her characters warmly, she doesn’t inhabit them deeply. Psychological states are flatly asserted rather than fully realized: “Ilya became nervous and importunate: his playful effervescence changed to gloominess.” Characters aren’t souls here, as they are in Dostoevsky, and they rarely possess rich inner lives, as they do in Tolstoy. Rather, they are bit players in the drama that is Soviet history.

At one point, the narrator writes that “so many things happened in Mikha’s life, both good and bad . . . that they all blended into one patchy, vibrant mass.” That’s a good description of “The Big Green Tent’’ itself: messily plotted yet historically textured, sometimes flatly written yet always sympathetically imagined — a patchy, vibrant mass.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
“Do not be consoled by the injustice of our time. Its immorality does not prove our own moral worth; its inhumanity is not sufficient to render us human merely by opposing it.

—Boris Pasternak to Varlam Shalamov, July 9, 1952”
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
"The Big Green Tent" epitomizes what we think of when we imagine the classic Russian novel.
With epic breadth and intimate detail, Ludmila Ulitskaya s remarkable work tells the story of three school friends who meet in Moscow in the 1950s and go on to embody the heroism, folly, compromise, and hope of the Soviet dissident experience. These three boys an orphaned poet; a gifted, fragile pianist; and a budding photographer with a talent for collecting secrets struggle to reach adulthood in a society where their heroes have been censored and exiled. Rich with love stories, intrigue, and a cast of dissenters and spies, "The Big Green Tent" offers a panoramic survey of life after Stalin and a dramatic investigation into the prospects for individual integrity in a society defined by the KGB. Each of the central characters seeks to transcend an oppressive regime through art, a love of Russian literature, and activism. And each of them ends up face-to-face with a secret police that is highly skilled at fomenting paranoia, division, and self-betrayal. A man and his wife each become collaborators, without the other knowing; an artist is chased into the woods, where he remains in hiding for four years; a researcher is forced to deem a patient insane, damning him to torture in a psychiatric ward. Ludmila Ulitskaya s novel belongs to the tradition of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Pasternak: it is a work consumed with politics, love, and belief and a revelation of life in dark times." [www.amazon.co.uk]
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

An orphaned poet, a gifted pianist and a budding photographer meet in a mid-20th-century Moscow school and eventually embody the heroism, folly, compromise and hope of the Soviet dissident experience.

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.03)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 3
3.5 4
4 13
4.5 8
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 125,567,946 books! | Top bar: Always visible